Monday, 10 December 2007

Defensive Glamour

I am, in many respects, a girly girl. You may have guessed this from the name and colour scheme of the blog. I have far too many pairs of shoes. I have an unhealthy interest in make-up. I love to shop. And I like a hand-bag as much as the next woman, or at least so I had always thought.

It turns out that actually, I like handbags quite a lot less than the next woman if the rather shocking piece in today's Guardian is to be believed, since the average price of a designer handbag in Selfridge's is now £850. EIGHT HUNDRED AND FIFTY POUNDS????? For that money you could buy season tickets for a family of 4 in the Curva Sud plus a new replica shirt for each of them (should you be that way inclined) and then a slap up dinner for four to celebrate coming second to Inter at the end of the season.

Apparently, should you be "lucky" enough to get to the top of the queue, you could also spend as much as £120,000 on some diamond encrusted monstrosity. This echoes the news of the £35,000 cocktail, which elicited the following most wonderful quote:
The drink will appeal to "the stupid segment of the super-rich", said the social commentator Peter York. "It is so gauche, so crashingly crass, that everyone else will see the buyers as barely literate, as one step up from a potato.

"It will be one of those things that unite both the middle class and the old rich in a belief that the super-rich come out of some kind of primeval ooze."
That's how I feel about people with these handbags. Leaving aside for one moment the moral and ethical issues of spending thousands of pounds on something to carry your lipstick in, it's all just so monumentally vulgar. The Guardian piece further noted the craze for handbags to have names, and to be called by them: "She's got a new Birkin" "I really want a Sofia" and so on. This is somehow reminiscent of the habit, so common among fans of the big four and especially among Arsenal fans, of referring to players by the first names, imposing some kind of faux-mateyness on procedings. Actually, no, you're not on first name terms with that obscenely expensive handbag or the super-rich lifestyle it represents any more than you are with Cesc or Freddie. (Yes, I admit, or France'.) Nor does this means of discussing them make it seem as though you were. Neither the handbag nor the player returns your regard.

But the best part of the naming part of the article - and here I must confess my absolute high fashion illiteracy, since I had never heard of half of these "pieces" - was yet to come. Could you, would you, be tempted to spend £760 on that hottest of tickets, the Marc Jacobs Stam?

I mean, what on earth did he have in mind? Am I really the only person thinking this:

And where oh where is the aspirational glamour in that? Whatever next? the Savage tote ? the Dicks satchel? the Materazzi clutch? (I'm thinking a midnight blue velvet with black brocade trim and gold clasp, perhaps enlivened by a printed satin lining with a faux-tattoo style pattern?)

Maybe, just maybe, I'm not Marc Jacobs' target market. *Sigh*


Antonio G said...

You inhabit a very select pro-shoe, anti-bag camp. You're an Orla Kiely marketers' dream come true.

Paul de Man said...

Peter York asked me to be his researcher for his next book. I asked him to pay for the privilege. We left it at that.

TrentToffee said...

terrific :0) You forgot to mention that they are monumentaly ugly to boot (if the example you posted is typical). The Dick satchel ?! Not sure that I'd want to carry my lipstick around in one of those.

roswitha said...

How deliciously Dahl-esque that Matrix bag sounds. :) I assume the number 23 will emblazon the gold clasp in a way that will render it completely impractical in addition to being fugly as well?